Rutgers team wins regional phase of prestigious Hult Prize Challenge highlighted in American Entrepreneurship Today

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Westfield, NJ

American Entrepreneurship

The students are the first team from Rutgers to win the regional competition in Boston. 

Now they will work with mentors to refine their business plan, fundraise and pilot their business, all before facing off against four other teams from around the world vying for a $1 million prize.

A team of Rutgers Business School students and one alumna won first prize in the regional Hult Prize Challenge with an idea of operating a system of electric-powered rickshaws in refugee settlements.

Seniors Najeeha "Gia" Farooqi, Moneeb Mian, Hasan Usmani and alumna Hanaa Lakhani captured the top prize in the March 4 competition against 70 teams from such schools as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the London School of Economics.

In a six-minute pitch – polished by months of preparation – the team detailed a compelling plan for Roshni Rides, a business to provide electric-powered rickshaws in refugee settlements, offering residents an affordable, hop-on, hop-off way of traveling to jobs, schools and vital services, including hospitals and markets. 

Passengers would use reloadable ride cards similar to the New York City subway's Metro card. The team plans to pilot the system in Orangi Town, where an estimated 1.2 million people live within Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.

"We've worked very hard," said Farooqi, who like the other team members are Americans of Pakistani ancestry. "This is very personal for us. We are the sons and daughters of immigrants and refugees."

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TAGS: Alok Baveja Business Plan Competition HULT Social Entrepreneurship